Did Sun just make mySQL closed source?

Summary:You have two alternate spins on the same set of facts. Free users are getting stable code, or the principles of open source are being denied.

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Sun's happy talk at its mySQL shindig this week masked a grimmer reality.

In the future cool new features of mySQL (like online backup) will, when written by Sun, first go only to paying customers.

This does not, as some have said, make mySQL Enterprise closed source. The code split between mySQL Community and mySQL Enterprise happened back in August, before Sun entered the picture.

Still some of the company's open source competitors, most notably Ingres, saw disquiet as a chance to pounce like Mark Penn on a YouTube video.

"MySQL is moving away from true open source towards a proprietary model by not providing the same features in its community version," said an Ingres press statement.

"MySQL will lose feedback and contributions on its products from a large group of users in the community. Costs will go up and quality will go down." Ingres executives stood ready to elaborate.

Really?

Fact is mySQL has been dealing with this issue for quite a while. As its VP-Community, Kaj Arno, blogged last year, the issue is stability. "Having a stable release which gets new features is like squaring the circle. It’s not doable in Euclidean geometry."

So there you have two alternate spins on the same set of facts. Free users are getting stable code, or the principles of open source are being denied.

It is, as Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz himself blogged on Monday, Freedom's Choice. And any users who don't like the choice are free to leave.

Topics: Software, Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Open Source, Oracle

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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